M. That’s what I’d like you to call me please. I’ll tell you why later.
Welcome to M’s world. It’s tipsy-turvy, sweet and sour, and the beast of anxiety lurks outside classrooms ready to pounce. M just wants to be like other teenagers her age who always know what to say and what to do. So why does it feel like she lives on a different plane of existence to everyone else?
Written by the students of Limpsfield Grange, a school for girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder with communication and interaction difficulties, M is for Autism draws on real life experiences to create a heartfelt and humorous novel that captures the highs and lows of being different in a world of normal.
Source: Review copy from Jessica Kingsley Publishers via NetGalley
This book is wonderful. M has such a strong, vibrant voice that makes her feelings and experiences so clear that it’s impossible not to connect with her. The characterisation of her anxiety as a beast that creeps up on her is so evocative and the way it makes so much sense – to her and the reader – why she feels that way is a real eye-opener for me (as someone who does not have autism).
I also really enjoyed having M’s mother’s viewpoint a couple of times, revealing her bafflement and inability to help her daughter, even though she loves her so much. The difficulties she faces and the fight she goes through simply to get a diagnosis for M helps add context to M’s own daily challenges and I loved having both perspectives. The counselor sessions were also really good for presenting and explaining things so that everyone can understand why M feels the way she does and find ways to help her cope with the sometimes overwhelming aspects of life.
In all this is a great, quick read that offers understanding and acceptance for those on the autism spectrum, as well as an insight and explanations for those who aren’t. It’s smart, well written and accessible and gives a clear voice to those who might sometimes struggle to make themselves heard. My only slight problem was that the end was so abrupt – I would have liked perhaps a little more about where M went from there, but the overall feeling was positive, so that was good.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it highly, both for those who need a voice and for those who simply want to understand. This book will help you.
M is for Autism is Out Now!
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